1/ Kevin McCarthy and Chuck Schumer are planning a vote on a bipartisan deal to lift the federal debt limit ahead of a potential June 1 default deadline. “I see the path that we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy said. “And I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard.” Schumer said the Senate would take up the legislation after House passage, alerting senators they need to be prepared to return to the Capitol within 24 hours if the House passes legislation. In order to avoid a historic U.S. default, a deal needs to pass the Republican majority House and the Democratic-controlled Senate by the June 1 deadline. Hakeem Jeffries, meanwhile, warned that any “so-called extreme work requirements” for federal benefits like SNAP or Medicaid “that MAGA Republicans want to try to impose as a ransom note are a non-starter. Period. Full stop.” (Bloomberg / CNBC / Politico / CNN)
2/ The Texas legislature voted to ban gender-affirming care for most minors, sending the bill to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. If enacted, Texas would become the largest state to ban gender-affirming care for minors, joining at least 17 other states that have passed similar bans. Two years ago, Abbott approved a bill barring transgender girls from playing female sports in public schools. (Washington Post / NPR / CNN / KUT Public Media)
3/ The South Carolina House approved a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. However, in January the state Supreme Court found a right to abortion in the state Constitution and struck down a similar six-week ban over privacy concerns. If enacted, Virginia would be the only state in the South where women have unrestricted access to abortions. (Associated Press / CNN / New York Times)
4/ The House Ethics Committee will continue with its investigation into George Santos even though the New York Republican is facing a federal indictment. Traditionally, the Ethics Committee has stepped aside when the Justice Department investigates a member of Congress. The committee, however, will continue to investigate Santos for any issues that fall under its jurisdiction, while the Justice Department investigates criminal matters. Federal prosecutors charged Santos with 13 financial crimes, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to the House on financial forms in that case. House Republicans, meanwhile, blocked a Democratic effort to expel Santos from Congress. (Washington Post / NBC News / NPR)
5/ Penguin Random House, authors, parents, and a free speech group sued a Florida school district for removing 10 books related to race and the LGBTQ community. The school district restricted the books saying they violated Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act – aka the “Don’t Say Gay” Act – after a high school teacher complained. The group, however, argues that “the books being singled out for possible removal are disproportionately books by non-white and/or LGBTQ authors” in violation of the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit also says that the school district violated the First Amendment by “depriving students of access to a wide range of viewpoints, and depriving the authors of the removed and restricted books of the opportunity to engage with readers and disseminate their ideas to their intended audiences.” (NBC News / Axios / Politico / Washington Post)
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